The commission participated in Verona Fair in the Square on December 7th. The VEC table was busy all day long with residents of all ages. Visitors learned about Sustainable Jersey, a free certification program for municipalities that want to go green and save money in the process. Verona recently joined the program. Many residents signed up to volunteer in the Green Team, a new commission that will coordinate Verona's sustainability efforts. Children took the Kid's Green Challenge and everybody got a Sustainable Jersey pin and signed the 2014 Verona Pledge promising to recycle more, save water, eat more veggies, use reusable bags, walk more and drive less. Pictured, VEC members informing residents about Sustainable Jersey.
Verona will join Sustainable JerseyOn Nov. 18 the VEC presented the program Sustainable Jersey to the Town Council and formally asked to create a resolution to register Verona in the program. The council's feedback was very positive. Soon Verona will become the 400th municipality in the state to join the program and the 20th Essex County municipality. Sustainable Jersey was launched in 2009 and it is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. There are over 125 actions that our municipality can earn points for in the Sustainable Jersey program. See the list of all the new actions in the Sustainable Jersey Overview Brochure. It is a free program that can help Verona do more of the work that it has been doing to improve the environment in Verona. It will give us preferred access to grant money and guidance on best practices to make Verona more environmentally friendly at a lower cost, saving money for our taxpayers. Once Verona joins the program we will need a Green Team to coordinate our sustainability efforts. If you would like to get involved please contact the commission at email@example.com or visit us at the upcoming Verona Fair in the Square (December 7th from 12 noon to 5 pm) or at our public meetings. More information HERE - There is also a free online webinar on January 21st, 2014 from 1 to 2 pm. You can REGISTER HERE.
Verona Public Library Exhibit
Students' posters submitted to the contest "Idle Free Verona" are currently on display until December 2nd at the Verona Public Library (17 Gould Street).
The posters are organized by participating school. Everyone is welcome to visit the exhibit during regular library hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Monday, Tuesday & Thursday), 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Wednesday, Friday & Saturday) and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Sunday).
Pictured here Children's Librarian Cheryl Ashley at the exhibit with children.
Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!
The tree is a wonderful 12 feet tall White Oak (Quecus alba L.) White oaks are native to eastern North America and found from Maine to Minnesota southward to Florida and Texas. It is a large, stately tree that can grow from 80 to 100 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter around the trunk. It grows upright and produces acorns which are a good food source for wildlife. White oak is an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall color. Specimens have been documented to be over 450 years old!!
The commission would like to thank Hillcrest Farms and the township for supporting this initiative and specially Verona's Director of Community Services, Jim Cunningham and Department of Public Works Superintendent Chuck Molinaro. Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!
Verona Uses Horticultural Vinegar
To reduce the presence of poison ivy at the schools, Paul McDevitt, Verona's director of public school facilities uses horticultural vinegar. Although horticultural vinegar is an organic product that you can order on-line and notification of its application is not required the BOE provided a notification . If you see a BOE employee using a spray dispenser on either weeds or poison ivy, please know that this is the horticultural vinegar being applied and not a chemical based weed killer. The Material Safety Data Sheet is posted on the Buildings and Grounds page of the district website. The VEC also recommended to use this product at Verona Pool and during the Aug. 12 Council Meeting, the Town Manager announced that they will. Common chemical pesticides contain glyphosate and are acutely toxic to humans. Glyphosate has been linked to Cancer, Autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. It was described as "extremely persistent" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Well done Verona!
Residents' Group: There is a new group in town with more than 500 supporters in Facebook called Verona against Blasting and Overdevelopment - Jack McEvoy and Jessica Pearson lead the group. They oppose a proposed development for 176 and 200 Bloomfield Avenue across Everett Field which requires months of daily blasting. McEvoy and Pearson are seeking support to change the state blasting laws. You can read the petition HERE. The group recommended to adopt blasting regulations in Verona at the Town Council meeting in June. They also did a presentation at the August BOE meeting since the construction site is very close to Brookdale Avenue School. A similar case recently took place in Millburn-Short Hills and the blasting was cancelled after public outcry. The next Verona Planning Board meeting is on September 22 beginning at 7:30 pm in the Community Center.
Recycling WorkshopsForest Avenue Elementary School celebrated Earth Day by hosting four Recycling Workshops on April 10 and 11. Students Grade 1 through 4 participated in hands-on presentations organized by the school SCA and the Verona Environmental Commission. Students demonstrated how to flatten corrugated cardboard boxes to be dropped off at the Verona Recycling Center. They sorted out items for recycling collection learning the difference between aluminum and tin cans, corrugated cardboard and paper board, etc. They learned about household hazardous waste and items made with 100% recycled content. Sometimes recycling can be a bit confusing, but now students are experts on Verona's Recycling Programs! Pictured student Stephanie Zimany sorting recyclable items.
National Day of Service was Jan. 19th
This day was created to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The VEC invited residents to help by increasing their recycling efforts on that day and bring recyclable items to the Verona Recycling Center. Carpooling to the Recycling Center was encouraged as well. Plenty of residents participated bringing corrugated cardboard, plastic bottles and containers (type #1 and #2), glass bottles, tin and aluminum cans, newspapers, mixed paper, telephone books, E-Waste (such as TVs and computers) and metal items (such as bicycles, air conditioners and file cabinets). Residents also dropped gently used clothing items and shoes in the center's donation container. Thank you all for participating!
Following the example of the Essex County Environmental Commission, on November 26, 2012 the Verona Environmental Commission passed a resolution urging New Jersey legislators to pass the Safe Playing Fields Act (A2412/S1143) and pesticide-free school grounds. The US EPA, the Federal Trade Commission and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection prohibit claims as to the safety of a pesticide or its ingredients even if used as directed. The commission's resolution supports pesticide free playing fields in Verona and New Jersey. To read the resolution please click here: Open "VEC Safe Playing Fields Resolution" - Over 50 legislators signed on to co-sponsor the Safe Playing Fields Act this year. READ MORE HERE
ANJEC Award for the VEC
The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) held their 39th Annual Environmental Congress in October at the Middlesex County College in Edison, NJ. Governor James Florio was the keynote speaker and workshop topics included Restoring Living Shorelines, Reducing Vehicle Emissions, Planning for Weather Extremes and Green Infrastructure. The VEC won a 2012 Environmental Achievement Award for the video and program "Go Idle Free Verona". ANJEC described the project as "a perfect example of the scope a commission can achieve with enthusiastic volunteers!". VEC members created this video with help from the H. B. W. Middle School Environmental Club. The VEC would like to congratulate the following students, pictured above during the video shoot: Benjamin Greene, Jewel Chu, Andrew Daddio, Jaclyn Marrese, Emma Kubacki, Erin McNally, Nina Machnowski, Anna and Lucas Konrad-Parisi.
Verona Schools are Styrofoam Free!
At the July 16th Council Meeting it looked like Verona was moving towards pesticide-free maintenance for public fields (more details HERE). But on September 1st the following chemicals were applied to H. B.W. Middle School and Verona High School fields: TruPower3, Merit 27, Talstar Insecticide, and 19-0-2 Fertilizer. The same day the Community Center, Linn Drive Field and Town Square were treated as well. TruPower 3 is considered by the EPA to have a toxicity category 1 -the most toxic- and has been banned from use in cities such as Albany, New York since 1999. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) procedures are mandatory for schools in NJ since 2004 and calls for non-pesticide pest management methods to be used whenever possible. "The VEC believes that it is critical, for the health of our children and teenagers, for our government and our fellow citizens to understand that it is possible to have playable fields without the use of toxic chemicals" said the VEC Chairman at the Sep. 4th Council Meeting. "We further ask that the Verona Township government commit now to converting all playing fields to pesticide-free maintenance, beginning immediately" he added. You can read the complete VEC statement HERE .
Tip of the Month:
Don't Trash your Boxes!
Verona Recycling Center is located at 10 Commerce Court in Verona (map) and it is open 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Visit our Recycling page for details or refer to the booklet for North Side and South Side - Please click HERE for the current garbage and recycling collection days. You can access a live feed from Nixle here
Do You Have a Treasured Tree?
Do you have one of Verona's great trees in your yard? The VEC is accepting nominations for Verona's Treasured Trees. This program recognizes beautiful, mature trees and the homeowners who care for them. If you would like to nominate a tree please e-mail us. Homeowners whose trees are designated as Treasured Trees receive a tree plaque and the tree is included in our "Virtual Tree Tour". One of the easiest ways to enhance our urban environment is to plant a tree. We encourage residents to plant native trees such as Oaks and Redbuds. They thrive with minimal attention and provide shelter and food to local wildlife. Click HERE for a list of wonderful native trees suitable for planting in our area. Pictured, a 2011 Treasured Tree, a majestic Red Oak located at 21 Anne Street in Verona. Trees do amazing things. Did you know 95% of the water trees drink gets evaporated into the atmosphere? Watch the video HERE
2013 Contest Winners
The Award Ceremony for the 5th Annual Idle Free Verona Poster Contest took place at Town Hall on November 4th. Winners received $50 dollars and a certificate signed by Verona Mayor. Pictured here from left to right: Maxine Haralambiev (H. B. Whitehorne Middle School), Mark Serra (Laning Ave. School), Wednesday Fischer (Brookdale Ave. School), Amelia Koellhofer (Forest Ave. School) and Peter Popowich (F. N. Brown School). Top row: Deputy Mayor Jay Sniatkowski, Councilman Kevin Ryan, Mayor Bob Manley, Councilman Michael Nochimson and Councilman Frank Sapienza. To see all winning posters please click HERE. Verona public school students submitted over 140 posters to the contest on October 9, Walk to School Day. The posters were exhibited at schools and they will be displayed at the Verona Public Library. You can see all the posters in this VIDEO. The video was presented at the award ceremony and it is currently on Verona TV. Congratulations to all participants for helping reduce air pollution!
Did You Know?
An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! Vehicle exhaust causes allergies, cancer, asthma and bronchitis. Up to 25% of NJ school-aged children are asthmatic. Idling for more than 3 minutes is against the law in New Jersey! Please turn OFF your car wherever you’re parked and waiting. Ready, Set, STOP Your Engines! Picture here HBW poster contest winner.
Peckman River Clean Up
To celebrate 2013 Earth Day the Verona Environmental Commission organized a cleanup at two locations in town on April 14th. VEC member Kerry Bass was the clean up coordinator. The morning group met at 9:00 AM in F. N. Brown School by the woods entrance behind the playground. The afternoon group met at 1:00 PM in Brookdale Ave. School behind the field. Volunteers helped keep our Peckman River clean by removing trash and debris from the surrounded areas. The township provided gloves, garbage bags, recycling containers and removed the collected materials. Several members of the Junior Woman's Club of Verona participated as well as Verona High School Juniors like Sam Bass pictured right in the woods behind F. N. Brown School. Thank you everybody for all your hard work! MORE INFORMATION HERE
Verona-NJ Safe Playing Fields at the December 17th Council Meeting. Over 200 Verona residents already signed the petition, in person and on-line. In the document the Verona Environmental Commission asks Verona Town Council and Board of Education to stop using toxic synthetic lawn pesticides on all school grounds and public sport fields where children play. Councilmen Sniatkowski and Nochimson called for a two to three year commitment of pesticide free, organic field maintenance. Councilman Ryan mentioned the need to include the BOE in this commitment. All councilmen agreed and the VEC congratulates them all for it! The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a report about Pesticide Exposure in Children. Pesticides can cause cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, birth defects and reproductive problems, and should not be applied just for the sake of cosmetic appearances. Pictured, gorgeous Bergen Community College sport field maintained without pesticides. Learn more HERE.
Go Idle Free Verona is the new 2 minute video from the VEC and it is part of the commission's campaign against unnecessary vehicle idling. The video was entirely shot and edited by VEC members in Verona. The commission would like to especially thank the HBW Environmental Club and the kids from Verona for their participation and support. We invite you to watch it and learn how you can help to enhance Verona's air quality (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen). An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! NJ State Law prohibits idling more than three minutes for both diesel and gasoline non-emergency vehicles. Please Turn the Key -Be Idle Free!
The VEC recently toured Verona Wastewater Treatment Facility and produced this 8-minute video presentation. We invite you to watch it and learn how you can help to protect our waterways (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen).
Help Verona save money and go green. Click "play" below to watch our new video Verona Recycling. Please reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can in Verona.
Let’s encourage kids to walk to school and support them by improving air quality and safe driving. Please watch our video presentation Idle Free Verona and spread the word!
The VEC put together a presentation about Verona's Recycling Programs for all elementary schools in town. The content and pictures were generated locally by VEC members targeting third and fourth grade students, as requested by Frank Albano, Laning Avenue School Principal. After receiving the approval of Charles Sampson, former Superintendent of Verona Public Schools, the VEC presented this program at the following schools: Forest Ave., Laning Ave. (pictured here), F.N.Brown, Brookdale Ave. and Our Lady of the Lake. The Verona Recycling Center located at 10 Commerce Ct. is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. And reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Recycling questions, call 973-857-4804. For more information contact us. READ MORE
Earth Day in Verona
The VEC celebrated Earth Day on April 14th at the Verona Recycling Center. Residents brought their recyclable items and chatted about local environmental matters. Fabric canvas bags with the Verona logo were distributed free of charge as well as Township recycling bins and barrels. Pictured below is Verona resident Jane Niven receiving a recycling barrel from VEC member Tony Saltalamacchia . To see more pictures of this event please click HERE.
Reusable Shopping BagsNeither paper nor plastic disposable bags are the best choice. Choosing reusable canvas bags and using them over and over is the way to go! Pictured from left Recycling Center Supervisor Michael Inglesino, VEC Chairman Shimonaski and VEC Member Saltalamacchia distributing canvas bags during Verona's Eart Day celebration. Read the article here.
Verona Park is now greener, thanks to Essex County officials having installed several recycling bins there. Now you can recycle paper, glass and plastic in the park. The Verona Park Conservancy organizes annual cleanups usually on April and the annual Hilltop Cleanup Day is organized by the Hilltop Conservancy.